William Beecher
Elisabeth M. Herr
William Smith
Jane Miller
(1793-Bef 1822)
Samuel Beecher
Margaret Jane Smith
(Abt 1819-Bet 1870/1880)
William C. Beecher


Family Links

1. Caroline Hiester

William C. Beecher 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

  • Born: 2 Oct 1839, Washington, Franklin, MO 1 4 5 6
  • Marriage (1): Caroline Hiester in Sep 1869 in Pottstown, Montgomery, PA 1
  • Died: 29 Dec 1909, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA at age 70 4 5 6
  • Buried: 1 Jan 1910, Pottstown: Edgewood Cemetery, Montgomery, PA 4 5 6

   Another name for William was William C. Bucher.9

   FamilySearch ID: L6V2-YN4.

  Noted events in his life were:

1. Census in 1840 in Saint John Twp., Franklin, MO. 10 The 1840 census recorded Samuel Beicher with this household:
Males (born)
Under 5 (1836-1840) = 1 son William
30-39 (1801-1810) = 1 father Samuel
Females (born)
15-19 (1821-1825) = 1 wife Margaret

Next door in 1840 is Matthew Caldwell, 60 to 70 years old, who may be the guardian of Margaret (Smith) Beecher whose mother died when she was a young child, and her father then returned to Tennessee leaving Margaret in Frankln County where she was born.

2. Census in 1850 in District 31, Franklin, MO. 11 Samuel Beecher, carpenter, 33, was living with wife Margaret, 30; William, 11; Sam, 8; James, 3; and Edward, 9 months old when the census was recorded on 5 Dec 1850. Samuel was born in Pennsylvania, everyone else in Missouri.

3. Census in 1860 in Boueff Twp., Franklin, MO. 12 Samuel Beecher, farmer, 45, was living with wife Margaret, 42; William, 21; Adrian, 18; James, 13; Francis, 11; John L., 7; and Mary E, 3. Also in the home was Charles Matthias, 23, laborer, born in Germany. Everyone else was born in Missouri. Judging by the names and birthplaces of neighbors, they were living in a community with German roots. The post office was Dundee.

4. Military on 17 Sep 1862 in Pottstown, Montgomery, PA: William C. Beecher, corporal, E-19 Infantry Militia. 13

5. Military Draft: Beecher, Wm. C., 23, merchant, single., Jun 1863, Pottstown, Montgomery, PA. 14

6. Census in 1870 in Pottstown, Montgomery, PA. 1 William Beecher, retail dry goods merchant, 30, was living with wife Carrie, 25 and John S. Beecher, 18, clerk in store. Also Henry Arms, 19, clerk in store, and Charlotte Jones, 23, domestic servant. William's real estate was worth $7,000 and personal estate $5,000. William and Carrie were born in Pennsylvania, but John in Missouri. The census lists that William and Carrie were married in Sep 1849. The post office was Pottstown.

7. Newspaper: Reading Times: funny story about William Beecher, 21 Jul 1874, Reading, Berks, Pennsylvania, USA. 15 A Supposed Spiritual Manifestation.
Mr. William Beecher, residing in Pottsgrove township, and his wife, were dozing last night, long after the children and family had retired for the night, were startled by sounds which seemed to proceed form the piano, but as no one could be seen at the instrument, the reluctant thought began to force itself upon their minds, that the noises were spiritual manifestations. The sounds were hear upon three or four different occasions, and began to have a very unpleasant grating upon their nerves. With every individual hair on end, Mr. Beecher proceeded to investigate matters, and if possible ascertain the cause, which finally proved to be a favorite kitten, that had been amusing herself and frightening her master and mistress, by tramping over the keys of the piano. Most spiritual manifestations could, we presume, be easily accounted for if people were diligent in their search for their cause, as were Mr. and Mrs. Beecher in this instance. -- from Pottstown Ledger.

8. Newspaper: Reading Times: Pottstown Affairs: Sherrif's sale of Myers C. Beecher grocery, 27 May 1879, Reading, Berks, Pennsylvania, USA. 16 Sheriff Tyson on Saturday sold at public sale the stock of the grocery store of Myers C. Beecher, High street, Pottstown. Wm. C. Beecher was the principal purchaser. The store was re-opened to-day with Myers C. Beecher in charge, the goods going off rapidly at low figures to close out the remaining stock.

9. Census in 1880 in Pottsgrove Twp., Montgomery, PA. 9 William C. Bucher, dry goods merchant, 40, was living with John H., 9; daughter Marchin, 6; Grace, 3; Mary 1 month old, and Jacob F. Beicher, laborer, 40. William's wife, Caroline H., 37, is shown living in the next househould, but a hand-drawn bracket indicates this is a mistake and she is indeed part of family, although indexed online in a different home. Everyone and their parents were born in Pennsylvania.

10. Residence: 1884 Boyd's Pottstown Directory: listing of Beecher households and occupations in 1884 in Pottstown, Montgomery, PA. 17 Beecher Daniel H., h King n Hanover
Beecher Frank, puddler, h Beech ab Washington
Beecher John V., agent, h Apple bel Franklin
Beecher Lyman, (L & W. C. Beecher), h 315 King
Beecher L & W. C. drygoods, 223 High
Beecher Samuel, cashier, 223 High, h King n Hanover
Beecher William C., (L & W. C. Beecher), h High bel Baily.

11. Newspaper: Reading Times: "Mr. William C. Beecher, of the Beecher dry goods firm, Pottstown, is confined to his house by illness. Dr. M. A. Long is the attending physician.", 4 Mar 1884, Reading, Berks, Pennsylvania, USA. 18

12. Newspaper: Pottstown Mercury: "William C. Beecher was elected president of the Board of Trustees of Pottstown hospital when the group met in the home of William S. Ellis.", 19 Apr 1889, Pottstown, Montgomery, PA. 19

13. Residence: East High Street, Pottstown, PA on 4 Sep 1889 in Pottstown, Montgomery, PA. 8

14. Newspaper: The Times: Beecher Store Destroyed by Fire, 14 Dec 1890, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA. 20 FLAMES IN POTTSTOWN


The Best Business Block On The High Street Submits to the Fate of an Early Morning Conflagration That Begins With the Assistance of an Over-Taxed Heater in Shaner's Clothing Store - Help From Reading Comes Just in Time, for the High Winds Were Drive The Fire Everywhere.

Special telegram to The Times
POTTSTOWN, December 13.

One-half of the leading and best business block of this borough is in ruins to-night from a fire that started at 2 o'clock this morning and raged beyond on all control fully six hours. It is a baptism of flame for intensity and value the greatest in local history, and the losses figure up $160,000. On this there are insurances of about $110,000.

The scene of the conflagration is on High street, north side, from Penn to Hanover, and the commencement was in John R. Shaner's clothing store in the basement. Alarms were quickly sounded and the borough companies responded promptly, getting into action very swiftly, but it required only a hurried view to convince the authorities that a serious disaster was impending and telegrams for aid were sent Mayor Merritt, of Reading a special train bringing down the Junior and Reading steamers with their companies. They rendered invaluable assistance.


A high wind and the bitter cold night almost paralyzed the efforts of the town companies, and the flames spread at appalling speed throughout the block. The fire soon burst through the floors of the Smith building, in which the Shaner store is located. Westerly wind drove the embers into Stone's jewelry store, to the eastward. Then followed Howard Leopold's dressmaking establishment and both were roaring furnaces before anyone could realize it.

While the firemen were exerting every energy to stay the progress of the flames at Leopold's the treacherous element was just as busy seeking new fields, and found a fruitful one in the extensive dry goods house of L. & W. C. Beecher, the Wanamaker of Pottstown. Thousands of persons raised the shout, and consternation seized hold of everybody. The flames burst from the roof of the Beecher building, covering the three floors in a great mass of fire and destroying a valuable stock of goods. Following this the building of R. Morgan Root, the hatter, fell an easy victim, and the Evan's book store, where the firemen made a stand and succeeded in getting the situation under control. It took six hours to do this.


The L. & C. Beecher firm is among the oldest established dry goods houses in this section. Their loss is $50,000, covered by $20,000 insurance, equally divided in the Mutual, of Pottstown; Reading, Phoenix, of London; Continental and Home, of New York. John R. Shaner loses on stock $15,000 and has a $6,000 insurance; Mrs. Knight, millinery, has a $1,000 loss; J. Leopold dry goods and dressmaking, $6,000; R. Morgan Root, hats and caps, $7,000; Mrs. D. Q. M. Geyer, dressmaking, $500; W. L. Stone, jeweler, $300; A. Evans, books and stationery, $3,000. The losses on buildings schedule in this way: D. Beecher, $13,000; D. K. Hatfield, $9,000; William H. Smith, $5,000; R. M. Root, $6,000; Gottlieb Moyer, $2,000; A. Evans, $3,000. The home of Mrs. Lawrence was also destroyed and the residence of Clinton Lessig badly damaged. The total loss is given at $160,000 and may go higher.

The fire is supposed to have originated from a heater in the cellar under John R. Shaner's store.

15. Newspaper: Pottstown Mercury: "STORE READY -- The firm of L. and W. C. Beecher, whose store was destroyed by Pottstown's worst fire the past year, is busy having its new store put in order for occupancy. It will be the most complete store in Eastern Pennsylvania.", 19 Sep 1891, Pottstown, Montgomery, PA. 21

16. Newspaper: Pottstown Mercury: "W. C. Beecher and daughter, Margie J., registered at the Pennsylvania building at the Chicago World's Fair.", 30 Jul 1893, Pottstown, Montgomery, PA. 22

17. Census in 1900 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA. 23 The 1900 census in Philadelphia recorded at 1342 Spring Garden Road: William R. Lester, editor, 50, born Mar 1850, married for 20 years to wife Kate Lester, 37, Mar 1863, who had birthed 3 children but none were alive in 1900 according to the census columns. Also in their home: boarders W. C. Beecher, dry goods merchant, 60, Oct 1839, and his son J. H. Beecher, real estate, single, 29, Sep 1870. There are 6 other boards in this household, suggesting this was an apartment or mansion or a smal hotel. William, Kate and her parents were born in New York, his parents in England. W. C. Beecher, his parents, and H. H. Beecher's father in Missouri, and J. H. Beecher and his mother in Pennsylvania.

18. Census in 1900 in Pottstown, Montgomery, PA. 2 William C. Beecher, 60, born Oct 1839, was married for 30 years to Caroline H., 55, born Nov 1844. She had birthed 4 children by 1900, all alive: John H., 29, Sep 1870; Margaret J., 27, Apr 1873; Grace, 23, Aug 1876; and Carrie M., 20, May 1880. William was born in Missouri, his wife and all his children in Pennsylvania. His occupation was "salesman dry goods", and son John was a real estate agent. William owned his home at 643 High St.

19. Residence: 1908 Philadelphia City Directory: Beecher, Wm. C., h 317 N 33d in 1908 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA. 24

20. 317 N. 33rd Street in 1908 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA. 25 The history of this home is documented online at the Powelton Village website at http://poweltonvillage.org/interactivemap/files/317n33rd.htm

In the 1908 Philadelphia City Directory William C. Beecher and his daughter Margaret are listed as living here (although so was his wife and daughters Grace and May.) William's death certificate says he died here. The 1910 and 1920 census shows Caroline Beecher, widow, was renting this home and living with her three daughters (in 1920 joined by Grace's husband, Charles). On 12 Apr 1920, ownership of the home was transferred by Mary S. Marot to C. May Beecher. In 1930, the census shows only daughter Grace Beecher Epler and husband Charles living here. In 1940, Carrie May, Margaret, Grace and her husband Charles are all living here. On 16 May 1945, the title transferred from C. May Beecher to Clara J. Pierbower.

21. Cause of Death: acute rheumetism (20 days), fibroid heart (36 months)., 29 Dec 1909, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA. 4 6

22. Residence: William died at 317 N 33rd St, Philadelphia, Pa. on 29 Dec 1909 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA. 6

23. Obituary: Five Mile Beach Weekly Journal: William C. Beecher on 31 Dec 1909 in Wildwood, Cape May, NJ. 26 William C. Beecher, father of John H. Beecher, died in Philadelphia on Wednesday. At one time Mr. Beecher conducted a flourishing business at Pottstown, Pa., and about twenty years ago built the Beecher cottage at Anglesea. Interment at Pottstown.

William married Caroline Hiester, daughter of John Rutter Hiester and Mary A. Hittel, in Sep 1869 in Pottstown, Montgomery, PA.1 (Caroline Hiester was born on 17 Nov 1844 in East Coventry Twp., Chester, PA,1 2 27 28 29 died on 5 Dec 1936 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA 28 29 30 31 and was buried on 8 Dec 1936 in Pottstown: Edgewood Cemetery, Montgomery, PA 28 29 31 32.)


1 1870 United States Census, Pennsylvania, Montgomery County, Pottstown, Series: M593 Roll: 1378 Page: 293.

2 1900 United States Census, Pennsylvania, Montgomery County, Pottstown Ward 7, Series: T623 Roll: 1445 Page: 103.

3 James, Isabella; Potts, Thomas, Memorial of Thomas Potts, junior, who settled in Pennsylvania (Cambridge Mass., University Press, 1874. Online free on Google Books http://books.google.com/books?id=UScAAAAAQAAJ), Page 350.

4 FamilySearch.org, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915 (From originals housed at the Philadelphia City Archives. "Death Records."), https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JK74-W8Q William C Beecher, 1909.

5 Find A Grave, http://findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=116752960.

6 Ancestry.com, Pennsylvania, U.S., Death Certificates, 1906-1968 (Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates. Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.), Certificate 417301. William C. Beecher, father Samuel Beecher, mother Margaret Smith.

7 Philadelphia Times (Philadelphia, PA), 1 Sep 1889, page 8. Death of Samuel Beecher.

8 Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA), 4 Sep 1889, page 3. Samuel Beecher's Funeral.

9 1880 United States Census, Pennsylvania, Montgomery County, Pottsgrove Township, Family History Library Film 1255158, NA Film Number T9-1158, Page Number 5B.

10 1840 United States Census, https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XHTF-DMR Samuel Beicher, Missouri, Franklin County, Saint John Township, Series: M704 Roll: 223 Page: 215.

11 1850 United States Census, Missouri, Franklin County, District 31, Series: M432 Roll: 399 Page: 121.

12 1860 United States Census, Missouri, Franklin County, Bueoff Township, Series: M653 Roll: 619 Page: 3.

13 Ancestry.com, "Pennsylvania, U.S., Veterans Card Files, 1775-1916."

14 U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865 (www.Ancestry.com), Wm. C. Beecher.

15 Reading Times (Reading, PA) (Reading, Berks, Pernnsylvania.), 21 Jul 1874, page 4.

16 Reading Times (Reading, PA) (Reading, Berks, Pernnsylvania.), 27 May 1879, page 1. Pottstown Affairs. Sherrif's sale of Myers Beecher grocher.

17 Ancestry.com, U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995, 1884 Boyd's Pottstown Directory. Printed page 241, online image 112.

18 Reading Times (Reading, PA) (Reading, Berks, Pernnsylvania.), 4 Mar 1884, page 1.

19 Pottstown Mercury (Pottstown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania), 19 Apr 1889.

20 Philadelphia Times (Philadelphia, PA), 14 Dec 1890, page 1.

21 Pottstown Mercury (Pottstown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania), 19 Sep 1891.

22 Pottstown Mercury (Pottstown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania), 30 Jul 1893.

23 1900 United States Census, https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M37F-5LX Pennsylvania, Philadelphia County, Philadelphia Ward 14, Series: T623 Roll: 1457 Page: 50.

24 Ancestry.com, U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995, Boyd's City Directory of Philadelphia, 1908, printed page 149. Online image 74.

25 Powellton Village (http://poweltonvillage.org/interactivemap/files/317n33rd.htm).

26 "Five Mile Beach Weekly Journal (Wildwood, NJ)," 31 Dec 1909 page 1.

27 1850 United States Census, Year: 1850; Census Place: East Coventry, Chester, Pennsylvania; Roll: M432_765; Page: 157B; Image: 320.

28 Find A Grave, http://findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=116752989.

29 Ancestry.com, Pennsylvania, U.S., Death Certificates, 1906-1968 (Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates. Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.), Death Certificate 107594. Caroline H. Beecher. Father John R. Hiester. Mother Mary A. Hittell.

30 Pennsylvania Department of Health, Pennsylvania, Death Indices (Pennsylvania Division of Vital Records, New Castle, PA, 16103. Online at http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/public_records/20686 .), 1936, Caroline H. Beecher, death certificate 107594, died 5 Dec 1936 Philadelphia.

31 Pottstown Mercury (Pottstown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania), 7 Dec 1936, page 11. Obituary of Charoline Hiester Beecher.

32 Pottstown Mercury (Pottstown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania), 9 Dec 1936, page 6.

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